BERLIN — Constantin Film, the No. 1 German independent behind the “Resident Evil” franchise, is teaming with German public broadcaster ZDF to produce “The Palace,” (“Friedrichstadt-Palast”) a period drama set at the celebrated Berlin music hall. Global Screen will handle international distribution.
“Last Exit to Brooklyn’s” Uli Edel will re-team with Constantin Television, directing the six-part series from a screenplay by Rodica Doehnert.
Described as an “emotional, musical and highly suspenseful East-West family story,” the series’ narrative begins in 1987 at the Friedrichstadt-Palast, dubbed the “Las Vegas of the East,” a world of extravagance in an East Germany on its knees after decades of socialism. Chris, a young dancer in the chorus is just about to get her first big break, a solo dance, when she meets her twin Marlene, also played by Svenja Jung, who comes from a conservative family in the West. Neither knows of the others existence. The encounter leads to a role-swap where they exchange professional and personal lives.
Production on “The Palace,” which rolls this April, was one of the major announcements at a Constantin Television showcase, the company’s first major industry presentation, which took place Monday at the Berlinale Series Market.
Edel, who directed one of Constantin’s most famed early international breakouts, “Chrisiane F,” way back in 1981, more recently returned to Constantin to direct 2013’s “Hotel Adlon” and more recently still, last year’s “The Master Butcher.” That was set against the aftermath of WWI, with a German soldier fulfilling the last wish of a dying comrade to look after his young wife and emigrating to the plains of a Dakota to forge a new life. “The Master Butcher” was a romantic melodrama wrapped in a second chance immigrant adventure.
“The Palace” is equally set against the background of what Edel called a “highly tense political and historical period,” and features a second chance scenario.
“I love serial storytelling and love taking a trip through time with my films,” Edel told Variety. “The Friedrichstadt-Palast is a legendary place and the world behind the scenes provides no end of material for good entertainment.”
Headed by producer Oliver Berben, member of Constantin Film’s executive board, Constantin Television also used the session to announce a new series project, “Wolfsburg,” confirm another – “Glauben,” with RTL’s TvNow – and make a 15-minute presentation of “We Children from Bahnhof Zoo,” a Constantin Television production and Amazon Prime Original. Bergen also drilled down on the DNA of Constantin Television, its growth and where he would like it to be in two-to-three years’ time.